Halfway done the Breck Epic and just three more stages to go. Stages 2 and 3 can best be summed up with the phrase “the good, the bad, and the ugly”, as all of us have had our share of ups and downs during the last two days of 143 km of riding and over 15000 feet of climbing.
I’ll start with the good. We have been treated to some fantastic trails so far, and some amazing and super fun descents. The thing about having to climb all those feet is you have to descend at some point, and the descents we’ve been treated to leave you with a shit-eating grin and make the enormous climbs totally worth it. The variety of terrain is also a real treat and has ranged from super buff to more gnarly and rocky and rooty all while being super flowy at the same time. Both stages 2 and 3 rewarded our huge climbing efforts with amazing views and scenery (if you remembered to look up) and a rewarding bomb back down. Today we climbed over the continental divide twice, and the views were honestly as breathtaking as the altitude.
Unfortunately, there is one bad to report from stage 2. Karen had an unlucky crash early in the stage and broke her leg and had to have surgery to repair the damage at the Breckinridge hospital. She’s in pretty good spirits though, and Steve says the doctors that were treating her are top notch. If your going to break a leg, apparently a ski resort is about the best place to do it. The pins she had put in are even titanium, which is only appropriate for such a stellar cyclist. This is Colorado, so I wonder if it’s the same titanium that Moots uses to build their frames?
And finally, the ugly. I’m not going to sugarcoat it; many of the climbs are long and steep and can only be described as ugly. I don’t ever remember using my granny gear so much and also pedalling in it at such a low cadence. Sometimes it’s so steep that you almost stop moving for a brief moment between each pedal stroke. Adding to this ugliness is the altitude, which I really felt today as we crawled towards the continental divide. Twice. I had a very hard time breathing today, and I don’t think I ever caught my breath once during the stage. It’s a funny feeling because my legs don’t hurt at all, but rather feel like lead and I often sound like I’m hyperventilating. A few others I’ve talked to also shared a similar sentiment about the effect the altitude had on them during the stage, so at least I’m not alone in my misery.
Tomorrow we rack up another 71 km of riding and 6300 feet of climbing. Will be another long and arduous day in the saddle no doubt, but well worth it at the end of the day.